It has been a few weeks since we last went to a castle and I’m suffering from castle withdrawal symptoms so we took off for Crathes Castle which is about 15 miles south-west of Aberdeen. I’ve just recently discovered that Aberdeenshire has more castles per acre than anywhere else in Britain. They’re everywhere!
We booked the electric car again and went for a lovely drive along the river Dee towards Crathes. I love living somewhere where I can be out in the country after just 5 minutes of driving and where the countryside is as beautiful to look at as it is in Aberdeenshire. I also love that we don’t have to drive on ugly multi-lane motorways but instead get to enjoy a peaceful, winding country road with views of hills, forests, fields of barley, and the river Dee. I’m so lucky to live here.
Crathes Castle is quite similar to Craigievar Castle from the outside except that it isn’t pink. It’s more popular with tourists too and the upside of this is there’s more to do. They have a restaurant/cafe, magnificent gardens, lots of walking trails, a children’s playground and some wildlife. They apparently have red squirrels, salmon, and otters, although we didn’t see any of those animals. Apparently there are also seals and otters in the River Don in Aberdeen but I think you have to be there at the right time to see the otters. Go Ape (the adventure playground for big people) also has a presence at the castle.
We’re members of The National Trust Scotland which means we get to do the tour for free and so that’s exactly what we did although I wasn’t allowed to take photographs of the inside. The kids really enjoyed this tour because there was an activity for children which involved searching for something in each room. The castle also has a resident ghost – the green lady. Legend has it that a young female servant in the castle in the 17th century fell pregnant and had a child. Almost immediately they both disappeared never to be seen again. From then on the ghost of a young woman haunted the castle. During the 1800s the fireplace was removed during some renovations and they found human skeletal remains. A video about the ghost is here:
Sadly, we didn’t see any ghosts 🙂
I was very taken with a bed spread in one of the bedrooms which was made in 1878 by Lady Burnett after her daughter, Elizabeth, died during childbirth at the age of 36. She cut up her daughter’s clothes and turned them into a patchwork quilt.
There are archeological sites in this part of Aberdeenshire which are 10,000 years old. I can’t help but wonder how the people lived all those years ago. What did they eat? I’m guessing salmon since the River Dee is good for salmon fishing.
The castle gardens were magnificent.
The kids had a play in the playground.
We went for a walk in the woods.
We’ll definitely go back to Crathes Castle.